Above ground, picking through the rubble, is Corporal Neal Parry who wishes he was back in West Virginia studying art, and not dodging snipers. When he finds an exquisite painting in what remains of the museum vaults, he is immediately reconnected with a lost world of beauty and order: the world of art. It is this small 18th century oil â the appropriately titled Landscape with Ruins â that is the poignant link between the young soldier and the four charred corpses he finds at the same time. As the narratives interweave, the story of the painting reveals the hidden story of Herr Hoffer and his three associates â and in so doing, uncovers other, darker mysteries.
In this thrilling re-creation of the last months of the Second World War, Adam Thorpe has written a narrative tour de force. Through his beautifully drawn characters, Thorpe allows us to see â just as they begin to see â the possibilities of art and love: perspective, in the face of war.
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